Electricity bill discount period extended till December

Domestic electricity users across Malaysia will continue to enjoy discounts of up to 50% on their bill till Dec 31, 2020, announced Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah. It is an extension to the previously announced April 1 – September 30 discount period unveiled by Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, on March 27 as part of the Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package. The extension also applies to the 601-900kWh (per month) energy usage and 10 percent discount under the Bantuan Prihatin Elektrik (BPE) which was announced on June 20,” he said. In peninsular Malaysia, the extra three months of discounts amounting to about RM392 million will be funded by Kumpulan Wang Industri Elektrik (KWIE), while the Ministry of Finance has allocated about RM6 million for the discounts to be enjoyed by domestic users in East Malaysia. (The Edge)

Proposed Kulim Airport project to cost RM6.8bil

The proposed Kulim International Airport (KXP) project, which is the Kedah state government’s top priority, is expected to cost RM6.8 billion, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. He said he was given to understand the land acquisition cost was RM2.5 billion while the cost of building the terminal and related works, including the runways, came to RM2.5 billion. “Another important component is the construction of a highway from Kulim to Sungai Petani, which is expected to cost RM1.8 billion,” he said. Mustapa expressed hope that KXP could be given attention in the 12th Malaysia Plan which would soon be tabled in the parliament. (Bernama)

Petrochemical hub to be developed on 432 ha in Bintulu

The Sarawak government has identified about 1,068 acres (432.2 ha) in Tanjung Kidurong for the development of a petrochemical hub. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the site, located 15km north-east of the town centre and about 36km from Samalaju Industrial Park, was deemed suitable for the hub considering its access to feedstock, being the landing point of offshore gas fields activities, and proximity to the existing gas pipelines. According to him, the site is also close to the relevant infrastructure like the deep-sea port and inter-modal road links in Bintulu, as well as the new port currently being developed in Samalaju and the state’s Economic Planning Unit (EPUS). Petronas is undertaking a joint study to come up with a masterplan for the hub. (Bernama)

New MM2H applications put on hold

There will be no new applications for the Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H) as it is being reviewed in an effort to upgrade it. Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the review was aimed at improving the programme and its processes. The review was expected to be completed by year-end. She said the Immigration Department was taking another look at the approval process while her ministry was conducting a study into the programme. “It’s not a permanent closure because the programme contributes to our economy,” she said. The Malaysian My Second Home Consultants Association (MM2HCA), a group that represents MM2H agents in Malaysia, claimed that more than 90% of MM2H applications from September to November last year were rejected with no reasons given. Since its inception in 2002, the government has given approval to some 40,000 foreigners to reside in Malaysia under MM2H. Participants were granted a social visit pass with multiple entries over a 10-year period and a renewable visa. (The Star Online)

U.S. coronavirus cases hit new global record, rising over 55,000 in single day

The United States reported more than 55,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the largest daily increase any country has ever reported, according to a Reuters tally. A surge in coronavirus cases across the US over the past week has put President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis under the microscope and led several governors to halt plans to reopen their states after strict lockdowns. The daily US tally stood at 55,274 late Thursday, topping the previous single day record of 54,771 set by Brazil on June 19. It has now reported more than 40,000 cases for seven straight days and broken records for new cases three days in a row. Florida reported the biggest increase of any state so far on Thursday, recording over 10,000 new cases in a single day. While testing rates have increased, so has the percentage of positive results. Hospitalizations have also skyrocketed. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned earlier this week the daily increase in new U.S. cases could reach 100,000 without nationwide measures to slow the rate. (Reuters)